As the parent of a 13-year-old girl, I am acutely aware of the extreme pressure girls these days are under to look gorgeous and be perfect in every way. But it’s not just girls who are under pressure… The constant bombardment from media channels of all shapes and sizes tells us that if we don’t look a certain way or wear a particular brand, we are nothing.
I’ve spent some time thinking about and wondering what life would be like if we didn’t have all this media coming at us. Would we feel better about ourselves? Like, what if we lived in the Little House in the Big Woods? And the only other people we saw were our relatives and neighbors? Clearly, there would always be a “prettier one,” but we wouldn’t constantly be reminded that we are insufficient. (We probably would have more important things to consider, like getting through the winter.)
The thing is, if we could see ourselves as beautiful, we would be set free from the bonds of consumerism. Because the media has told us that we have to buy “stuff” to be prettier, be more successful, and get attention from the opposite sex.
Makeup, revealing clothes, uncomfortable high heels (which apparently were invented to keep your feet in the stirrups when riding), waxing, weight-loss programs, cosmetic surgery… These things are all about living up to some ideal that media has created in order to sell more products and services.
Of course, everybody wants to look their best. However, to which lengths do we go to achieve this? Is it more important to look good than to give a child an education? Is it more important to be thin than to save somebody from starving?
I’m not writing this to make you feel guilty. Rather, it’s more of a conversation that I have with myself. Because I’m still not free from this bond. Heck, I spent $80 at the salon last time to cover up my gray hair..!
We need to remind each other that we are beautiful and slowly free each other from the bond that society has placed on us. That we have to be beautiful on the outside to be worth something. That we have to wear designer clothes to be successful. That we have to, have to, have to…
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